3/1/02
2001 - the year of Crufts in Summer & much more!

NO-ONE could pretend that 2001 has been what could be termed a good year. Then tragedies of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, and the devastating outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the UK cast long shadows into all of our lives - and not just those of us involved in canine activities. But both tragedies served as a stark reminder that we do not live in a safe, isolated world of our own, and that the concerns of the outside world do not affect us - they do. Very much. The year 2001 has proved this in no uncertain terms.

But out of adversity comes hope, and the unflagging human spirit rises above all dark times and negative forces. Dogdom, dog owners and dogs themselves continue in strength and confound the plans of those who would seek to undermine our freedoms and way of life, or those events which cause so much devastation around us. There's always the hope that next year, or even next month, next week will be better. We keep our faith in that.

January

THE YEAR began with direct action by anti-hunting activists who sought to cripple one of the country's major hunts. All but four of the entire 51-strong Wye College Beagles Hunt pack were stolen by activists form the Animal Liberation Front during a raid on the Hunt's kennels in the early hours of January 5th.

An ALF statement claimed that the dogs would be placed in "safe, loving homes", although pro-hunters derided this claim, saying that the kennel-bred, working dogs would not adapt to a domestic life. Hunting was back in the public eye again later in the month when Westminster MPs voted by 387 votes to 174 - a majority of 213 - to instigate a total ban on hunting with hounds in England and Wales.

The stage was set for a showdown with the House of Lords who were expected to block the legislation or to amend it in favour of hunting by licence. The Commons vote was overwhelming however, with the proposal for licensing hunts defeated by a majority of 200, whilst maintaining the status quo and allowing 'self regulation' by hunts was defeated by the biggest majority of all, 244.

Meanwhile in Germany, the trial of the owner of a fighting Pit Bull Terrier which attacked and killed a six year-old boy in Hamburg in June 2000 came to and end. Ibrahim Kulunc, 24, the son of Turkish immigrants, and well known to Hamburg police for his criminal activities was found guilty of causing the death of Volkan Kaja when Kulunc's trained fighting dog 'Zeus' and its companion, American Stafford 'Gypsy' ran towards the boy as he played in a school playground. In a shock decision, the trial judge ruled that Kulunc could not have foreseen his dog's propensity to attack and thus sentenced him to three and half years' imprisonment.

His girlfriend, Silja Wilms, 19, who was tried under youth laws and had shown "genuine remorse" for Volkan's death was sentenced to one year's imprisonment, suspended. The judge's verdict effectively made a nonsense of the harsh "Fighting Dog" laws enacted by the German Federal Government and States Governments, insofar that nobody can predict with any certainty that a particular breed of dog can be dangerous of liable to attack.

This left the way for an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights against the German dog laws, although such a move would undoubtedly take time. The future of discredited research laboratory, Huntingdon Life Sciences was assured for a further six years, thanks to the 11th hour financial lifeline from anonymous American source.

The lab had faced closure after the Royal Bank of Scotland, its principal backer, had withdrawn funding and foreclosed on a substantial loan after receiving threats form animal rights activists. The Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC group had targeted the lab for four years after the shock revelations in a TV documentary at the way in which staff abused Beagles kept for experimentation at the facility.

Staff had been abused and physically attacked, leading Cambridgeshire Police's Chief Constable to say that it was "only a matter of time before somebody is killed." The Royal Bank of Scotland were so keen to sever ties with HLS that they wrote off all the facility's debts - estimated at 11 million - on the strength of a token payment of just 1. Further debts owed to two American banks totalling a further 11 million were also met by RBS.

Postman James Pye may have been expecting a big compensation pay day after he accused two Rottweilers of attacking him whilst he delivered letters to their owner's home, leading to Mrs Dawn Knight being summonsed under the 1871 Dogs Act. Magistrates at Consett, Co.Durham dismissed the postman's claims as pie in the sky after they considered all the evidence, including the fact that Mr Pye had simply been found on his hands and knees in the lane outside Mrs Knight's house, having simply scraped his hands and knees on the gravel.

The two dogs, Storm and Shadow were still in Mrs Knight's garden and had not bitten Mr Pye. The postman had taken three days to report the alleged attack

February

The Kennel Club's Crufts show office announced that entries for the 2001 show had weighed in at one of the largest ever at 23,229, from 21,554 dogs. This year's show was eagerly awaited as this would be the first year that overseas competitors could enter as a result of the new Pets Travel Scheme.

There was sad news, however, at the death of former Crufts Chairman and Kennel Club Vice President, Sir Dudley Forwood Bart, aged 88. Sir Dudley and his wife Mary were famous for their Eyeworth kennel of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. He had also kept Irish Wolfhounds, Welsh Springers and Golden Retrievers over the years.


Sir Dudley Forwood Bart - former Crufts Chairman and Kennel Club Vice President who died in February.

Following on from the proposal to align all regulations relating to the import of animals into a single piece of legislation, MAFF issued proposals to update the UK's quarantine rules to ensure "best modern practice" in the country's 61 quarantine kennels.

The proposed statutory instrument, which uses the PETS scheme as its basis, recognised that quarantine will still be required for animals entering the UK from countries other than those listed in the PETS scheme as 'rabies-free'. Specific standards will need to be met at all quarantine premises. New requirements include the provision of a staff changing area, a cold water supply to each block of animal pens and larger pens for giant breeds of dog. Gravel floors will no longer be permitted.

A separate animal care room will also have to be provided, with a washable table for examining animals, a hot and cold water supply, power supply, lockable cupboard, first aid kit and a detectable light source.

A chocolate labrador named Lucy became the 10,000th pet to use the PETS scheme and was pictured at the Eurotunnel Terminal in Calais, having been presented with a special diploma to mark the occasion, along with her young owners Kyle and Sean Herbert Hunting was back in the news when Angela Egan, a former RSPCA employee who 'defected' to the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance denounced the RSPCA's claims that the nation's 22,000 Foxhounds could be rehomed if hunting was abolished. "I knew these dogs would not be suitable for rehoming and we [the RSPCA] would not be able to do it, but that was the party line," said Ms Egan.


'Lucy', a chocolate Labrador, is the 10,000th pet to use the PETS travel scheme
and is seen at the Eurotunnel Terminal in Calais with Kyle and Sean Herbert, her owners.

Meanwhile, a hunt saboteur who tried to rescue a fox being chased by hounds was nursing his injured pride in hospital after the fox bit his hand. The German 'Fighting Dog' laws showed just how brutally they could be enacted, when police officers in Dortmund gunned down a Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross which allegedly bit a smaller dog in a public park, leaving the wounded animal to bleed in the street for 40 minutes until a vet administered a lethal injection.

The dog named 'Apollo' is alleged to have run up to Klara Schramma, 60, as she was walking her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 'Charlie' in the park. Frau Schramma said that Apollo grabbed the Cavalier and ran off with him across the park, but that Charlie was unharmed due to he calling out to him to "play dead."

This supposedly confused the larger dog long enough to allow two armed police officers to approach and pump at least six shots into the animal's body, using ammunition designed to remain within the body of the target.

At least one shot went wide of the dog and hit the wall of an apartment block bordering the park, narrowly missing a kitchen window where two women were standing. Dortmund police and the German authorities later erroneously - and some might say deliberately - described the dog as a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, in order to add credence to their plans to outlaw that breed as a dangerous dog.

Still with Germany, the Federal Government announced its intention to instigate a total ban on four 'fighting' breeds of dog, namely the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Stafford, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the Bull Terrier. None of the four breeds would be allowed to be imported into Germany, or even to cross its territory. This is a direct challenge to the authority of the European Parliament that allows the free movement of goods throughout EU member states.

The German Ambassador to the UK, Hans Von Plott, bit off far more than he could chew when he went head-to-head with Canine Behaviourist Mike Mullen and OUR DOGS' Chief Reporter Nick Mays on BBC Radio West Midlands' Ed Doolan show.

The Ambassador tried to justify the German dog laws and even made the Teutonic faux pas of trying to joke about the war and 'fighting'; breeds' role in it, which prompted the OUR DOGS man to point out that German Shepherd Dogs had been used by the Germans during the war and that they currently headed to bite statistics 'league tables' in Germany, yet somehow were not included in any lists of 'fighting breeds'. Herr Ambassador must have been wishing he'd heeded Basil Fawlty's immortal advice: Don't mention the war!

March

The month began with the disquieting news that the outbreaks of Foot and Mouth reported to towards the end of February had not been "isolated incidents", but were, in fact, part of a nationwide outbreak which had been under way for several weeks, thanks to infected animals being transported around the country.

Dog shows began to be cancelled or postponed at an alarming rate, beginning with the Shropshire Gundog Society Open Show, due to be staged at Oswestry Agricultural Society Showground on February 25th. The Kennel Club press office was quick to announce that Crufts was still on, despite the foot and mouth epidemic, pointing out that the KC was under no pressure from MAFF to suspend the event.


Harry Jordan - one of the country's top all-rounders passed away

However, the epidemic continued to grow, leading to the cancellation of WELKS until, finally, the KC yielded to the inevitable and postponed Crufts one week before the show, moving it to the late May Bank Holiday weekend of 25th to 28th May. The decision was taken, some believed, as a show of solidarity with the rest of the dog showing world or perhaps needing to set an example of leadership.

Certainly no leadership or advice was forthcoming from MAFF. Spokesman John Webb simply said: "MAFF do not have an official position on the staging of animal shows. We give advice if it is sought, so if a show were to be held in a field, near an affected area, we would advise against this. If the show is to be held in a hall in a town, then there's no problem." Fears that cats and dogs on farms might be culled along with sheep, cows and pigs are, however, "unfounded" - at least, according to MAFF.

Paula Harrington from MAFF's London press office told OUR DOGS: "Cats and dogs are unable to contract the disease, although it is possible for them to spread it on their feet if they walk around in an infected area.

We therefore are asking that all dogs are kept indoors and that cats are restrained as best as possible." Harry Jordan, known to his many friends as 'Haj' died aged 83 in St Mary's hospital Paddington. Haj was the long-time stalwart of the Hammersmith Canine Society and, along with the Society's committee, was well known for engaging overseas judges to all Hammersmith events and for awarding solid gold medals to winners.

After receiving Honorary Life Membership of the KC, Haj judged best in show at Crufts in 1996, proving himself, as ever, to be a great character.

April

The 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act 'celebrated' ten years since its inception, whilst it's longest-term prisoner, Staffordshire Bull terrier 'Lacey' chalked up her eight year in secret kennels, having been seized on March 30th 1993 as a pit bull 'type' dog by the Metropolitan Police. Lacey's owner, Monste Christian, now resident in her native Spain, refused to take advantage of the 1997 Amendment to the DDA and have Lacey registered as a pit bull and thus eligible to be freed. After eight long years, an innocent dog's incarceration continued....

The House of Lords debated the Government's anti-hunting Bill and were promised a day in Committee to make any recommendations on suggesting possible amendments to the Bill. Prime Minister Tony Blair had shifted the date of the pending General Election from May 3rd to June 7th, but was under pressure from anti-hunting MPs to push the legislation through before Parliament rose for the election.

Meanwhile, vociferous anti-hunting Labour MP Tony Banks declared that 167 Labour MPs had planned to issue personal election manifestos pledging themselves to support a ban on hunting after the election if the current Bill failed to get through in time. In Germany, campaigners fought the repressive fighting dog laws on a new front - the unwarranted - and possibly illegal - ban on dogs of certain breeds being carried on public transport in Munich and Berlin.

May

Geneva was the setting for a show trial conducted at the International Court of Justice for Animal Rights in Geneva. The German Federal Government and the various States Governments (Lander) stood accused of enacting unconstitutional and cruel laws against dogs and their owners, despite many of these laws being clearly against accepted EU laws and human rights legislation.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Government - with Chancellor Gerhard Schroder singled out for particular censure, alongside Hessen's Interior Minister Volker Bouffier - was found guilty as charged.

Held at the Centre International de Conferences in Geneva, the 'trial' was conducted by the European animal welfare organisation, the Franz Weber Foundation on a suit filed by the Deutsche Tierschutzpartei - the German Animal Protection Party - which is an active, recognised political party in Germany, together with a number of other plaintiffs, mainly registered campaigning organisations.

Delegates from European Animal Defence organisations, experts, jurists and witnesses from Germany and other parts of Europe attended the trial, together with a number of journalists and private individuals.

The 'court' was composed of an international jury of nine jurors, all campaigners and dog experts from Germany, France, Belgium, Greece, Austria and Switzerland together with two judges; Franz Weber himself (Switzerland) and Dr. Norbert Ch. Schauer, (Austria).

One of the most applauded witnesses was Frau Vera Moc-Rosu, the German pensioner who was arrested by German police officers in February after her dog allegedly 'attacked' a Dachshund whilst she was taking it for a walk.

Frau Moc-Rosu outlined in graphic detail how the police demanded to break into her flat, but only reluctantly allowed her to unlock the front door, before they pushed her aside to get at her dog. Given her diminutive stature, the over-use of force against Frau Moc-Rosu had many of the audience shaking their heads in disbelief.

"I later found they had broken a chair, I can only think they had used it to test whether my dog was aggressive," said Frau Moc-Rosu, her voice cracking with emotion. "I have suffered psychological damage because of this. I fear that the police will turn up at any time. I now get up at 5.30 am to walk my dog before people are about. It took me three months to get my dog back from the police. I am afraid of further persecution."

After several hours of evidence, the jury returned to deliver their verdict. The outcome was never in any doubt; all the accused were found guilty of racial discrimination against dogs and their owners, violation of dog owners' constitutional rights and of wanting to export these laws to other states.

Franz Weber, exuding natural dignity and statesmanship, read the verdict, copies of which were circulated in French, German and English and which would be circulated throughout the world. A range of demands to make amends for these abuses was also added, including the suspension of all breed lists and the repeal of the Federal law banning four Bull breeds.

The German Federal Government's response was an example of Teutonic arrogance in the extreme; it offered no comment as it did not recognise the legal validity of the Court.

The House of Lords debated the Governments Hunting With Dogs Bill and eschewed any attempt at a 'middle way' amendment to allow hunts to be licensed. The peers threw the Bill out and voted to allow hunting to continue as it did now, opting for the status quo.

The scene was set for a battle between the Lords and the Commons, with anti-hunting MPs urging Tony Blair to use the Parliament Act to force the legislation through. However, legal arguments that to impose a ban and thus deprive hunt workers of their livelihoods might well contravene the Human Rights laws - which New Labour had enthusiastically embraced just weeks earlier - staved off such a confrontation and the Bill died with the dissolution of Parliament for the General Election campaign. Hunting was safe again for a little longer.

The month ended on a much happier note, with Crufts being staged according to plan. After the doom and gloom of the preceding months with so many shows becoming casualties of foot and mouth, the premier of dog shows, staged over a glorious Spring weekend was a much needed tonic to gladden the soul of everyone who attended.

Even the mainstream media found very little to bitch about, unlike the previous year, the BBC TV coverage was back to its usual high standard of excellence - helped greatly by the presence of stand-in presenter Philippa Forrester - so the show was set fair for success. Sadly, there were some 'casualties' in the form of many of the 200 dogs entered form overseas, as the change of date meant that over half of these could not attend.


Photo by Alan V Walker l Best in show at Crufts 2001 show under BIS judge Mrs Ann Arch was Paul Singleton's
home bred Basenji dog Ch Jethard Cidevant (Zande Weledi ex. Ch Jethard Unholy Alliance with Chaanrose)
pictured here the famous Keddel Memorial Trophy.

However, one Italian champion dog very nearly upset the applecart by being placed as Working Group Winner and contender for Best In Show. Siberian Husky Int.Ch. Cry Out, handled by Swede Mia Ejerstad drew cheers of admiration and applause from the largely Working and Terrier breeds audience as she was paraded around the ring before the judging of BIS.

But it was not to be. "Johnny Foreigner" might be allowed to compete at Crufts, but the Keddel Memorial Trophy stayed firmly within these shores when judge Ann Arch proclaimed Basenji Ch Jethard Cidevant, bred and owned by Paul Singleton as Crufts BIS 2001. "Sid" was only the second Basenji in 25 years to win BIS at a General Championship Show and the first ever of his breed to win Crufts. And a quieter winner one couldn't hope to find!

June

The General Election took place on June 7th with another trouncing for the Conservative Party by New Labour and the Liberal Democrats, who retained a majority of 168.

There was one crumb of comfort for the beleaguered Tories however, when one of its rising stars managed to wrestle a seat from Labour control with a massive swing of 9.14%. The seat was Romford, Essex and the candidate was Andrew Rosindell, aided and abetted by his Union Jack clad Staffordshire Bull Terrier, 'Spike'. Rosindell and Spike have long been known as champions of the canine cause.

Despite being a staunch Tory, Rosindell was a vehement opponent of the Major Government's Dangerous Dogs Act, and played a major role in getting the Act examined again in Parliamentary circles, and introducing anti-DDA campaigners to influential political figures. The new member for Romford pledged to "speak out for dogs" in the corridors of power ad pledged to take Spike along with him to the State opening of Parliament.

July

Following the Kennel Club's AGM, two new top positions were filled. Ronnie Irving was elected Vice Chairman of the KC General Committee, whilst Peter Mann, the former incumbent of the Vice Chairman's role became Chairman of the Crufts Committee. The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) animal launched its 'First Strike Scotland' campaign against animal abuse. Using extensive research conducted in the UK and elsewhere, the campaign highlighted the link between animal cruelty and violent and abusive behaviour by the perpetrators towards other human beings.

The campaign also tied in with joint initiatives with other agencies, including the police and social services - a positive move forwards for both animal and human welfare. Still in Scotland, a committee of Scottish MPs recommended to the Scottish Parliament that the Protection of Wild Mammals (Hunting) Bill should be scrapped, saying it would be impossible to apply the law to all forms of hunting with dogs and claiming that the use of terriers by gamekeepers and Scottish hill packs was often a necessary and humane form of pest control. MSPs on the Committee voted by six to three in favour of the recommendation.

August

The Kennel Club's Finance and General Purposes Committee considered dropping the controversial proposal for the 'eighth group' at Crufts, in which BIS winners from FCI shows would compete. The committee eventually voted to abandon the idea, issuing a statement which said that: ".... The International Group will not now go ahead due to the lack of support from overseas shows..."

However, for an encore, the Crufts team announced that Admission price for Crufts 2002 - back to its regular March dates - would rise by an average of 27%. The Home Office's Animal Procedures Committee issued a pronouncement that the cloning of pets should not be allowed, as this "trivialises" the science involved and could lead to the production of animals which are intended as "mere toys or fashion accessories."

Despite this, a growing number of pet owners are still 'banking' samples of their pets' blood and tissue with 'cloning companies' who hope to clone the pets when the technology 'becomes available'.

One company charged a competitive rate for this service: 500 for the samples being taken, 60 a year storage until the technology comes on-line and a further 2,000 for the actual cloning. On a more positive note relating to pets' genetics, Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition was using a new test for DNA damage to cats and dogs, known as the Comet Assay test to indicate whether the animal in question has suffered DNA damage.

The results of a two-year study showed that dogs fed on the new Waltham blend for only two months incurred 26% less DNA damage than dogs eating a conventional diet. As the month drew to a close, the Government caused outrage amongst animal enthusiasts in all fancies by announcing its intention to review whether or not the UK should sign the European Convention for Pet Animals.

The Council of Docked Breeds has previously stated that, if ratified, the Convention could see the banning of up to 100 breeds of dog and many breds of cat. The Convention was being considered by the Minister for Animal Health and Welfare, Elliott Morley.


We also featured exclusive photographs from a staghound kennel which hunts in the Forest of Compiegne, France the master of which paid tribute to the English hounds which helped to keep his pack strong and vital.

Quoted at the time, Mr Morley said that while he was "sensitive" to the concerns of animal breeders that some breeds were under threat, he considered parts of the Convention to be "logical". "If the breeding of some animals is causing suffering it is an issue to consider" said Mr Morley, The Kennel Club wrote to Mr Morley to express its concerns over the issue and to seek clarification on his and the Government's standpoint of the signing of the Convention.

As well as several dog and cat breeds being at risk due to "abnormalities" of their physique, another clause would seek to ban 'surgical operations for the purpose of modifying the appearance of a pet animal or for other non-curative purpose', which would see an end to tail docking and the removal of dew claws.

Mr Morley said he was seeking clarification on some aspects of the Convention and attempted to give breeders some reassurance, saying: "We are well aware of the implications to some breeds and are obviously sensitive to that issue," he said. "The majority of the Convention is fine and we have no objections to it but we do want to be sure that we are not prohibiting certain established breeds by signing it."

The Minister added that he will "consult widely" on the Convention and seek the views of the KC and "all mainstream groups" who were "welcome to contact him."

Nick May's Review of the Year continues next week




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